October 15, 2021
Lockdown gap means breast cancers undetected
The Breast Cancer Foundation wants more resources put in to deal with a backlog of mammograms caused by Covid-19 lockdowns.
It estimates at least 133 women across Aotearoa New Zealand have no idea they have breast cancer because their screenings were cancelled or postponed.
Board member and Māori Women’s Welfare League president Prue Kapua says younger women and vulnerable populations are most affected by the screening programme being put on hold when the country went into alert level 4 in August.
“Particularly for Māori women, our rates have dropped considerably and we need to make sure we are either encouraging our whānau, our mothers, our sisters, our daughters to ensure they have had a mammogram in the relatively recent history and that they push to go,” she says.
As well as dealing with the backlog, the Breast Cancer Foundation wants to see breast screening numbers put back in the health system indicators, and that screening continues during future lockdowns.